Thesis & Outline
The thesis of this book is most clearly stated in the introduction of the book. Thompson states, “This book…is a trumpet call to muster our forces and at the same time deals with the philosophy and practical principles that make any ministry in the city successful. This book is a practical how-to book on growing a successful urban ministry” (xix). Several of Thompson’s chapters directly support this thesis.
In the first two chapters he provides the foundation of the book and explains both the biblical and philosophical need for ministering in urban areas. Then in chapters three and four Thompson gets more practical and shares basic biblical principles that he believes are missing in urban ministries today. The next two chapters, five and six, Thompson shares some principles and how-to’s on personal discipleship. He believes that personal discipleship is the most effective tool he has used in urban ministry in the last thirty years.
The next three chapters he moves from the broader discussion of discipleship to a more specific discussion of how to reach and disciple those who are disenfranchised and fatherless. Thompson provides in these three chapters some wonderful tools and suggestions for helping hurting, addicted, depressed, and broken people. Just like the rest of the book Thompson gives a lot of practical wisdom. The book concludes with the final three chapters on how to live in an urban setting and plant a church in the city.
Evaluation & Application
I believe Thompson masterfully accomplished the purpose that he set out to accomplish and supported his thesis well. Almost every chapter of this book is full of practical principles or has some how-to list in it. For me personally this book was captivating.
I to plant a church in Chicago over the next few years. So everything he wrote was incredibly relevant and I greatly benefited from reading the book. One of the strengths of this book is that his suggestions are universal for just about any church planter or urban minister. This book would be a good book to read no matter what sort of theological convictions you have about church and ministry. I think it can be a useful resource for Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc… Needless to say, I was very encouraged by the content in this book and as I was reading I kept trying to think of ways that I might be able to use it as a resource in the future. I think it would be a great book to help introduce someone to urban ministry. It would be a great book for me to give to future interns in our church who I hope to train up and send out to other parts of Chicago or the world. More importantly, I hope to implement many of the principles and suggestions for our own Chicago church plant.